Santos in Oaxaca's Ancient Churches

A study of santos in 16th-century and other churches in Oaxaca, Mexico


By Claire and Richard Stracke
Funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.

In Teotitlán del Valle:

Christ Child
Christ in a coffin
Christ: Ecce Homo
Crucifix (1)
Crucifix (2)
Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)
Our Lady of the Rosary
Palm Sunday Christ
Resurrection of Christ
St. Francis of Assisi
St. Hyacinth
St. John the Baptist
St. John the Evangelist
St. Joseph (?)
St. Mary Madgalene
St. Peter the Apostle (1)
St. Peter the Apostle (2)
St. Sebastian

Unidentified Franciscan saint
Virgin Mary (1)

Virgin Mary (2)

Other santos not photographed

St. John the Evangelist

Saint John the Evangelist
The figure wears a white robe. The right hand has been tied to the torso so that the chalice can be held forth, and the chalice is tied to the hand. The left hand hangs loosely at the side. On the right arm, blue paint is visible above the flesh-colored wrist. The right hand is badly damaged, with stumps of fingers remaining. Reddish wood can be seen in the breaks. The head looks upward, set at a strange angle.

Local Name: San Juan Evangelista.

Basis for Identification: Chalice in right hand, goatee and moustache.

Other characteristics: White robe, white tasseled stole fringed in gold.

Site: Church of Santa María de la Natividad (Preciosa Sangre de Cristo), Teotitlán del Valle.

Location: Right end of the retablo of the first large altar along the south wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Frame body, fabric garment. Wood, gesso, paint (face and hands). Eyes: glass. Hair: carved.

Size: About feet (135 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Ejutla, Huitzo, Mitla (Calvary grouping), OcotlánTeposcolula, Tlacolula.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Saint John the Evangelist in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. John the Evangelist
Wikipedia: John the Evangelist
Christian Iconography: Saint John the Evangelist

Next: Moving to the right, we find a small altar with a statue of St. Francis of Assisi.

Previous santo

Introduction to Teotitlán del Valle

Santos Home Page

Note: On this site, references to the cardinal directions always assume that the main altar is at the east end of the church, the narthex or entry area at the west end, and the two walls of the nave on the north and south. (The nave is the long central section.) Actual orientations may differ.

The photo shown here is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. You are free to share or remix it on two conditions: first, that you attribute it to the photographers, Claire and Richard Stracke, without implying any approval of your work on their part; second, that if you alter, transform, or build upon this photo, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.